13 Sep

Hydro Power: Liquid Gold with Drax

We were delighted to announce our recent partnership with Drax to provide Verallia with a greener energy solution in hydro power. We will be sourcing 66 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity annually from their river hydroelectric scheme in Scotland.

The use of hydroelectricity will make a significant difference in our journey to lessen the impact of our operations and reduce our carbon emissions as we strive towards our sustainability goals. But what is hydroelectricity and why is it so vital in the journey to a more sustainable future in manufacturing? We have partnered with Drax for a blog on just that.

Hydro Power in the UK

Hydropower (or hydroelectric power) is one of the oldest sources of renewable energy, with the use of water mills dating all the way back to the ancient Greeks and Romans.  Coming to present day, hydro power can now produce significantly higher levels of electricity, but it only makes up a small proportion of the UK’s electricity supply mix.

It is currently documented that there is 1.2 gigawatt (GW) of hydropower capacity across the UK’s electricity system. Comparatively, solar has 13.2GW capacity and wind has 24.4GW. So, for the 134 terawatt-hours (TWh) of renewable electricity produced in 2020 within the UK, only 5% of it came from hydro power, even though it is a highly efficient, flexible, affordable and low-carbon source of electricity.

A Viable Solution?

Initial costs relating to constructing hydro power plants are comparably substantial, but the long-term maintenance and operational costs are significantly low, meaning it is a very affordable source of electricity in the long term.

Also, many hydro-electric plants are highly adaptive, having the capacity to increase or decrease the amount of electricity being generated at short notice, allowing them to make up for shortfalls and fluctuations in demand for energy, maintaining a stronger element of stability. In addition to all of this, hydro power is one of the most efficient sources of energy, with an energy conversion efficiency of 90%,

Hydro Power’s Potential

Although hydro power is typically created from large energy plant sources, with nine of the world’s largest power stations being hydro powered, it can also be effective at a much smaller scale. Hydro power can be created using fairly small river sources, bringing renewable electricity to more remote areas. In fact, two schemes in Scotland have been utilising hydro power to bring power to rural areas for almost 100 years, both operating in different ways.

One of the schemes is named ‘Lanark’, and their power stations generate electricity through what’s called ‘run-of-the-river’ hydropower, which describes a scheme where there is no dam to stop and store water along the river. The water is instead re-directed into a power station to spin a turbine which is connected to a generator.

The second is named ‘Galloway’, which only generates power when there are peaks in demand. To do this it operates a conventional storage hydro scheme where dams situated along the river are used to create small reservoirs. When demand for electricity peaks, water is released from these reservoirs and used to spin turbines and generate electricity.

Greener Glass Manufacture

In short, we see a real future in hydro power. The stability of its source and ability to utilise natural river systems makes it the perfect solution to green energy production and we are delighted that Verallia can aid bring its use into the manufacturing sector.

Creating a greener future within manufacturing requires a collaborative effort. Whilst our individual goals are well within our reach as we keep pushing forward, we hope that through making investments of our own in areas such as renewable energy sources, we can help influence the industry to move forward.

If you are looking for a glass supplier with sustainability at its core, get in contact with our team, and don’t forget to check out our sustainability page for more information.

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At Verallia, we love working with such a diverse range of Whiskey distilleries, helping them bring their brands to life with bottle design, colour, and decoration.

#Whiskey #Design #Brand #BrandDesign #Packaging #PackagingDesign #GlassPackaging #GlassManufacture #IrishWhiskey
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#CircularEconomy #Packaging #GlassPackaging #Innovation #Recycle #Sustainability
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